Series 405 - Midwifery Books


Date Range19 August 1856 - 21 March 1889
Quantity15 cm, 2 volumes
ProvenanceMidwifery Department
Description

The first midwifery records of the Lying-In Hospital are among the Royal Women’s Hospital’s greatest historical treasures. They begin with the first patient, Mrs Kinsman, in August 1856 and are among the oldest surviving systematic records of childbirth in the world. The two midwifery books covering 1856 to 1887 are in the form of ‘Simpson midwifery books’, named after the great Scottish obstetrician, James Young Simpson, of the Edinburgh Lying-In Hospital. They record a range of personal and medical details that the doctors needed so that they could analyse and evaluate their practice. In the early years, maternal deaths were described in detail in the midwifery book, but later they were recorded in a separate casebook, which has since been lost. Some maternal deaths were concealed when women who had a post-partum infection were transferred to the Infirmary wing and were recorded as gynaecological deaths.


Inventory Listing

Melbourne Lying In Hospital, Midwifery Record Book No. 1, from Aug 19th 1856 to Mar 15th 1879
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This book recorded the patient’s name, age, marital condition and parity or number of previous deliveries; date of admission and discharge. It then recorded details of the labour and delivery: the time in labour (which generally meant the time in second stage or heavy labour), the presentation (head, breech, transverse) and whether the baby was born alive or was stillborn. If the baby was alive, its sex, weight and length were noted, as were any interventions such as the use of forceps, or any manipulation by the accoucheur of its presentation. Complications such as prolonged (‘tedious’) labour, haemorrhage, pre-eclampsia or obstructed labour would be noted, along with occasional social comments such as ‘a notorious thief’ or ‘brought in by police’.

Front cover ---- Image: 1
Front pages ---- Images: 2 to 3
1856 Births 1 to 25 ---- Images: 4
1857 Births 1 to 125 ---- Images: 4 to 8
1858 Births 126 to 316 ---- Images: 9 to 16
1859 Births 317 to 506 ---- Images: 17 to 27
1860 Births 507 to 709 ---- Images: 27 to 38
1861 Births 710 to 954 ---- Images: 38 to 55
1862 Births 955 to 1272 ---- Images: 55 to 74
1863 Births 1273 to 1580 ---- Images: 74 to 89
1864 Births 1581 to 1934 ---- Images: 89 to 107
1865 Births 1935 to 2362 ---- Images: 107 to 124
1866 Births 2363 to 2786 ---- Images: 124 to 143
1867 Births 2787 to 3167 ---- Images: 143 to 157
1868 Births 3168 to 3395 ---- Images: 157 to 176 [Birth numbers 3396 and 3397 not used]
1869 Births 3398 to 3782 ---- Images: 177 to 205
1870 Births 3783 to 4184 ---- Images: 206 to 230
1871 Births 4185 to 4627 ---- Images: 231 to 259
1872 Births 4628 to 5114 ---- Images: 260 to 278
1873 Births 5115 to 5567 ---- Images: 279 to 291 [Birth numbers 5568 and 5569 not used]
1874 Births 5570 to 6026 ---- Images: 291 to 306
1875 Births 6027 to 6473 ---- Images: 307 to 321 [Image 322 is a blank page]
1876 Births 6474 to 6921 ---- Images: 323 to 336
1877 Births 6922 to 7531 ---- Images: 336 to 359
1878 Births 7532 to 8176 ---- Images: 360 to 378
1879 Births 8177 to 8299 ---- Images: 379 to 381
Back pages ---- Images: 382 to 385 [The names of pupil nurses who obtained certificates ..]
Back cover ---- Image: 386

The original registers are held by the Royal Women's Hospital Victoria Archives. The digital images of the pages of registers presented here have been reduced in size (and quality) to enable reasonable delivery across both dial-up and broadband Internet connections.

Creator Midwifery Department
Date range 19 August 1856 - 15 March 1879    Quantity 5 cm, 1 volume
Inventory Identifier A19910501 Series 405

Published by the Royal Women's Hospital Victoria Archive, 20 August 2006
Listed by Robyn Waymouth, Janet McCalman and Gavan McCarthy
HTML edition
Updated 28 November 2006
http://www.thewomenshistory.org.au/history/guides/patients/births.htmRWHS405.htm

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